Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza

February 10, 2012

deep dish pizza

Truthfully I have never had the opportunity to have authentic Chicago-style deep dish pizza. The closest I’ve ever come is the deep dish pizza from the Uno’s chain (which is fabulous! by the way). So, unfortunately I couldn’t tell you how this homemade recipe held up to the real thing. I do know that the people at Cook’s Illustrated did put a lot of time and thought into this recipe. How can I be sure exactly? Because this recipe is too complex for it not to be excessively thought out. And I don’t mean to scare you off from trying this recipe by labeling it as “complex”. But even I think that it was more work than necessary… I took it as a challenge though! I’m sure there are a few of you out there that are just like me and find these types of recipes to be fascinating. A part of you just can not rest until you’ve conquered them! I hear ya. That’s why I had to go through with making my own homemade chicago-style deep dish pizza. I had to prove it to myself that I could do it. Mission complete.

Now, on to more specifics about this particular recipe. The outcome? Well, it’s a little bit complicated… see, I’m from NY. Not the city! But still… our pizza is thin and flat. Cheese on top. Toppings on top. Pretty standard stuff. Personally, I enjoy deep dish pizza. I just do not prefer it to what we have for pizza. And don’t even get me started on my poor Husband. He’s a really good sport about trying a few things that I make that he wouldn’t normally have anything to do with. But this? Can’t say he was very happy about having to eat it for dinner. I knew I had blown it when the words “and the cheese is on the bottom” came out of my mouth while I was explaining the difference to him. Yeaaaaah, he was not at all okay with that. He ate it, because it was still good. But he wasn’t happy and he didn’t like that I called it pizza. And even though, I agree with him that the cheese belongs on top, I thought the pizza was delicious.

The crust was particularly good! And with all the effort that goes into making it, it better be. The dough is yeasted and laminated. Laminating a dough is simply the process of folding in layers of butter. I say simply… but to anybody that has ever tried to make croissants at home, they know that’s not true. Anyways, the layers of butter create this incredibly flaky dough. That’s what is achieved with this dough. Between the flakiness and the extra crunch from the added cornmeal, this crust is a winner.

Since this recipe is pretty labor intensive I wanted to be sure to include a “how-to”, so here we go-

deep dish pizza


Begin by mixing together the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.

You need to use instant (rapid rise) yeast if you are planning to use this method for the dough.

deep dish pizza

Add the melted butter and room temperature water.

deep dish pizza

Knead on low speed for about 6 minutes or until the dough begins to pull away from the bowl.

Head’s up- it’s going to be a pretty greasy dough.

deep dish pizza

Use 1 tsp olive oil to grease a large bowl.

Knead the dough into a ball and place in the bowl to rise for about 1 hour or until double in size.

deep dish pizza

While the dough is rising make the sauce.

It’s very, very simple and to save you some time I won’t get into the details here.

deep dish pizza

Once the dough has risen completely you are ready to laminate the dough.

Roll the dough out into a 15″ x 12″ rectangle.

Spread the 4 Tb of softened butter around the dough, leaving 1/2″ border.

deep dish pizza

Roll the dough into a tight cylinder starting at the long end.

deep dish pizza

See all the layers of butter you’ve just created? And you’re not even done yet.

This is going to be seriously delicious.

deep dish pizza

Seam side down, flatten the rectangle into an 18″ x 4″ rectangle and cut the dough in half.

deep dish pizza

Now fold the dough into thirds.

deep dish pizza

Pinch the seams together and kind of form the dough pieces into two balls.

Set them in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in the refrigerator for about 50 minutes.

deep dish pizza

Coat two 9″ cake pans with 2 Tb oil.

Yes, this is a lot!

But, it’s going to be sooo yummy. It’ll almost fry the crust for you hehe

Roll each dough ball into a 13″ circle.

Doesn’t have to be perfect. Mine wasn’t.

deep dish pizza

Place into the pan and kind of shape the edges so that they are about 1″ up the sides.

deep dish pizza

Place about 2 cups of mozzarella cheese on the bottom of each.

deep dish pizza

Spread 1 1/4 cups tomato sauce over the cheese and then top with 2 Tb grated parmesan.

Bake in a 425 degree F oven for 20-30 minutes.

Once out of the oven, let it rest 10 minutes in the pan!

This is going to make it super easy to take out.

deep dish pizza

And there you have it!

A deliciously crusted, beautiful Chicago-style deep dish pizza!!

If deep dish pizza is your thing and you have a deal of patience in the kitchen, then you should whip this up for yourself for sure.

Heck, even if you don’t have any of that, it’s nice to challenge yourself every once in a while, especially if the reward is this yummy : )

5.0 from 1 reviews
Chicago Style Deep Dish Pizza
  • For the Dough:
  • 3¼ cups (16.25 oz) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (2.75 oz) yellow cornmeal
  • 1½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 2¼ tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
  • 1¼ cups (10 oz) water, at room temperature
  • 3 Tb unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 Tb unsalted butter, softened
  • For the Sauce:
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup grated onion (from large holes of grater)
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed (2 tsp)
  • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp sugar
  • 2 Tb fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • For Assembling and Topping:
  • 4 Tb olive oil
  • 1 lb mozzarella, shredded (about 4 cups)
  • ½ oz parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
  1. FOR THE DOUGH: Mix flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook on low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute. Add water and melted butter and mix on low speed until fully combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping sides and bottom of bowl occasionally. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is glossy and smooth and pulls away from sides of bowl, 4 to 5 minutes. (Dough will only pull away from sides while mixer is on. When mixer is off, dough will fall back to sides.)
  2. Using fingers, coat large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil, rubbing excess oil from fingers onto blade of rubber spatula. Using oiled spatula, transfer dough to bowl, turning once to oil top; cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise at room temperature until nearly doubled in volume, 45 to 60 minutes.
  3. FOR THE SAUCE: While dough rises, heat butter in medium saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add onion, oregano, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid has evaporated and onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes and sugar, increase heat to high, and bring to simmer. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer until reduced to 2½ cups, 25 to 30 minutes. Off heat, stir in basil and oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. TO LAMINATE THE DOUGH: Adjust oven rack to lower position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Using rubber spatula, turn dough out onto dry work surface and roll into 15- by 12-inch rectangle. Using offset spatula, spread softened butter over surface of dough, leaving ½-inch border along edges. Starting at short end, roll dough into tight cylinder. With seam side down, flatten cylinder into 18- by 4-inch rectangle. Cut rectangle in half crosswise. Working with 1 half, fold into thirds like business letter; pinch seams together to form ball. Repeat with remaining half. Return balls to oiled bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let rise in refrigerator until nearly doubled in volume, 40 to 50 minutes.
  5. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with 2 tablespoons olive oil each. Transfer 1 dough ball to dry work surface and roll out into 13-inch disk about ¼ inch thick. Transfer dough to pan by rolling dough loosely around rolling pin and unrolling into pan. Lightly press dough into pan, working into corners and 1 inch up sides. If dough resists stretching, let it relax 5 minutes before trying again. Repeat with remaining dough ball.
  6. For each pizza, sprinkle 2 cups mozzarella evenly over surface of dough. Spread 1¼ cups tomato sauce over cheese and sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over sauce. Bake until crust is golden brown, 20 to 30 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Adapted from “The New Best Recipe” By Cooks Illustrated


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Shari, The Saucy Gourmet February 10, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Oh how we LOVE pizza in our house!!! I cannot wait to try your deep dish pizza, it looks INCREDIBLE!!!


lmachell February 11, 2012 at 4:32 am

I know, who can say no to pizza? Hope you give it a try! It’s definitely worth the effort.


Leslie January 14, 2013 at 1:01 am

I just made this tonight. It was fabulous. Thanks for the pictures, they really helped. I made one regular and the second one I put mozzarella, provolone, then the sauce, then chopped up salami. Excellent! Thanks again!


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